Apple Butter Bread with bourbon, pecans and raisins makes this moist breakfast loaf a spectacular addition to your fall baking line-up. Served fresh baked, or warmed up on the griddle this easy apple butter bread recipe offers a melding of autumn flavors. A thoughtful hostess gift for holiday baking.
“The states that encompass Appalachia span from New York to Mississippi. We are different. We are the same.” Joyce Pinson, Friends Drift Inn
Originally published September 11, 2011 as “Big Apple Bread” to mark the ten-year anniversary of 9/11 Revised 2019
Apple Butter Bread Recipe with Bourbon and Pecans – Recipe At-A-Glance
Prep Time– 15 Minutes Bake Time 1 hour 15 minutes Total Time 1 1/2 hours
Yield This is a rich and moist loaf. 12 slices is the norm-but I usually cut the slices in half yielding 24 slices. It is just that satisfying!
Ingredients Golden Raisins – Bourbon – Water- Unsalted Butter – Pure Cane Sugar – Egg – Sorghum or Maple Syrup – Bread Flour – Baking Soda – Salt – Cinnamon – Ginger- Allspice- – Friends Drift Inn Apple Butter – Chopped Pecans – Cooking Spray or Bacon Grease
Equipment Large Mixing Bowl, Medium Mixing Bowl, Spoons, Loaf Pan
Apple Butter Bread – A Quick Bread
Using Apple Butter in breads and muffins gives baked goods a flavor boost. Both are considered quick breads.
A quick bread is just that; a breakfast treat or coffee-break snack that mixes up quick.
Unlike a yeast bread which produces a dough, quick breads make a thick yet spoon-able batter.
It is so easy!
This is not a project for geniuses at the Culinary Institute. This is a fall baking project even beginners will have success with.
The ingredients come together very simply. The biggest challenge here is waiting for the spiced bread to brown up and bake. In that regard, it is not as “quick” as our Old Fashioned Apple Bread Recipe.
What Does Apple Butter Bread Taste Like?
Moist with a full flavor of apples ginger, and cinnamon, this quick bread tastes like it smells…. just heavenly.
Apples pair well with bourbon and bourbon pairs well with pecans. Pecans pairs with raisins and it goes without saying that a little bacon dripping on the fly make this a memorable breakfast bread.
It is autumn baked into a loaf of goodness!
Cozy up with this bread and a hot cup of tea or coffee! Savor the moment!
Tricks to Make the Best Apple Butter Bread
- The Number One rule of quick breads is DO NOT overmix. You stir only enough to get all ingredients moistened. No more. No less.
- Soak raisins overnight in bourbon. Pressed for time? Microwave raisins and bourbon in a small dish for about 45 seconds on high heat. Cover with foil until ready to add to bread batter.
- Use bread flour. Normally with quick breads, all-purpose flour is called for. In this recipe however, bread flour gives a little more density which helps hold the nuggets of pecans and raisins in suspension. Because apple butter adds moistness, using an all-purpose flour makes for too soft a crumb for this recipe.
- Grease the loaf pan with bacon drippings. Sure, sure. You could use a pan spray. But that little bit of bacon flavoring that soaks up through the bottom, gives this breakfast treat an extra layer of flavor.
Notes About Apple Butter
All apple butters are not created equally. Flavors vary due to the selection of apple varieties, spices, and cooking methods.
Friends Drift Inn Apple Butter uses a mixture of several apple varieties balancing flavor and texture. There is no high fructose corn syrup. We do not add preservatives. We would not dream of adding food coloring.
Our spiced apple butter relies on the flavor of apples, with mellow hints of ginger to recreate how we remember the Aunt’s old-fashioned stack cake tasting.
Growing Apples – An Appalachian Tradition
According to the US Apple Association there are 32 states that grow apples commercially. Virginia, Ohio and North Carolina are among the top ten apple states. One of our favorite commercial apple orchards is in Kentucky, right on the Virginia border.
Located on the easternmost “point” of Kentucky, we are in apple growing country. Paintsville has an Apple Festival each fall. Apple butter stir offs are a common community activity for festivals and farmers markets.
We source apples locally the best we can. We are very particular about what varieties we use and how they meld together.
We also try to get to the harvest early. The bears seem to love the same apple varieties that we do – so we harvest with urgency!
Friends Drift Inn is passionate about apple butter and the Appalachia traditions surrounding it. So passionate, I wrote a full article “What is Apple Butter Anyway?”
Bake Apple Butter Bread Ahead and Freeze
Once September rolls around, it seems our social calendar picks-up. There are tailgate parties, holiday guests popping in, and for some reason the kids seem hungry all the time.
Apple Butter Bread stores well in the freezer if you wrap it up good and tight. I like to keep a couple of loaves stowed away for when friends drop in for afternoon coffee or a hot sip of tea.
Stored in the freezer, you should use up the bread within three months or so.
Better Homes and Gardens editors offers tons of tips for freezing quick breads.
They recommend reheating foil-covered frozen breads and muffins at 300 for about 12 minutes.
If your bread is frozen; no worries
- Melt a little butter mixed with bacon grease (GASP) in a cast iron skillet and quick pan brown slices.
- Plate individually.
- Top with warmed apple butter and an extra sprinkle of chopped pecans for a tasty fall treat.
Kids in the Kitchen – Gearing Up for Thanksgiving and Beyond
Thanksgiving is one of the most hectic of our family holidays. With the meal coming together in a carefully orchestrated program, it is easy to exclude kids from the cooking experience.
Solve two challenges with one afternoon. Let the kids mix up this recipe a week or so before you begin the serious Thanksgiving prep. Freeze several loafs.
On Thanksgiving morning, serve the bread the kids have made.
You will have to spend less time on breakfast, the kids will be proud to have helped on the special holiday, and the memories you make together baking in the kitchen will be remembered long-after the fall and winter season gives way to warm weather pursuits.
What to Serve with Apple Butter Bread?
Keep it simple! With the spices, nuts, and raisins melded with apple butter goodness this bread has a lot going on.
Here at the barn, we serve this quick bread with a soft-spread cheese and an extra dollop of apple butter and warmed honey.
The rest of the brunch spread will include sliced apples drizzled with sorghum or maple syrup, a hearty corned beef hash casserole, and hot coffee with a tiny splash of bourbon.
I have been known to griddle apple butter bread topped with an over-easy egg and a couple of hickory cured bacon strips for small groups of family and friends.
After football practice or a late afternoon of building homecoming floats, a warm cup of apple cider and a slice of apple butter bread tides over the beasts until supper is on the table. The after-school crowd can be brutal!
Once you have gathered a few sticks of kindling to light the first fire of the season, a slice of apple butter bread with toasted pecans, a couple of cubes of cheddar cheese, a round of summer sausage, and a hot apple cider bourbon cocktail set the stage for a cozy evening at the homestead.
Choose Your AssortmentPrint
We call this “fancy” because apple butter bread loaded with raisin, pecans, and a splash or two of bourbon is chock-full of flavors. Perfect for holiday baking, hostess gifts, and Christmas teas. Bake ahead and make plenty!
- 1 cup of Golden Raisins
- 1/3 cup of Kentucky Bourbon plus 1/3 cup of Water
- ½ cup Unsalted Butter, room temperature
- 1 cup of Pure Cane Sugar
- 2 large Eggs, beaten (organic preferred)
- 2 tablespoons of Sorghum (could substitute maple syrup or dark corn syrup)
- 2 cups of Bread Flour, whisked
- 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon of Ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon Allspice
- 1 cup of Friends Drift Inn Apple Butter
- 1 cup of Pecans, coarsely chopped
- Cooking spray or bacon drippings
- Soak raisins overnight in bourbon and water if you have time. Otherwise, put bourbon, water and raisins in small dish, microwave on high for 45 seconds and cover until time to add to batter.
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Line loaf pan with foil for ease-but usually I just grease the pan and spoon batter in. Grease pan generously with bacon drippings. (Spray with vegetable oil as an alternative) Set aside.
- Cream butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl. Using a mixer makes this easier but is not critical.
- Add eggs and sorghum. Mix well.
- In separate bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, and spices.
- Measure apple butter and add to butter and sugar mixture, alternating with the dry ingredients. Do not over mix!
- Stir in pecans and raisins with a spoon.
- Walk away for a few minutes (grab a cup of tea) and let the leavening have a few minutes to raise.
- Spoon batter into prepared loaf pan. I usually drop the pan on the tabletop just to make sure the batter spreads into the corners and levels up. This is a dense batter.
- Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes rotating once. Bread will pull away from sides. A toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean.
- Cool loaf in pan about 10 minutes, then remove. I find using foil makes it easy to move bread from the pan.
Great for breakfast, brunch or as a coffee break treat. Serve with mulled apple cider, nuts and cheddar cheese or soft spread cheese. Griddle half slices and spread with apple butter. Perfect with apple cider cocktails for an afternoon tailgate or hayride.
- Soak raisins overnight with bourbon and water. Quick fix combine raisins, bourbon and water then microwave for 30-45 seconds.
- Use bread flour – which is atypical for quick breads. For this recipe, it just works better.
- Make several loafs and give as hostess gifts. To make extra fancy, place a few pecan halves on the top before baking. Don’t forget a jar of Friends Drift Inn Apple Butter.
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